Greencastle considers adding two land use zones

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Based on prior incidents in Greencastle, and noticing incongruities within the borough zoning districts, Greencastle manager Susan Armstrong and borough solicitor Sam Wiser investigated various rezoning possibilities for some time. They brought ideas to the Community Development Committee on Dec. 17

Council members Larry Faight, Matt Smith and Frank Webster Jr. took in the new information. Council members Wade  Burkholder and  Charles Eckstine watched from the audience during the public session.

Armstrong pointed out that a glitch in the ordinance required Greencastle-Antrim School District to seek variances from the Zoning Hearing Board when it wanted to erect a scoreboard, and move in trailers for classrooms. The school campus was in a residential area, zoned R1, and so faced restrictions on what it could do. Jerome R. King Playground was R2, Armstrong said, which meant in the unlikely chance the land was ever sold, it could face permitted uses that were not in the best interest of the community.

She suggested both parcels be placed in an Institutional zone, not currently named in the ordinances. An INS zone would be proper for schools, a community center, and similar buildings, but no residences.

Armstrong also showed issues with the Industrial zones in town. Those on the outskirts were appropriate, but some property in the middle was out of place with the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Industrial Pallet Co., Agway and two other parcels were zoned I, but she and Wiser thought Mixed Use might be more appropriate if the current companies ever moved away. The nearby Little League field was R2. Wiser said MU was transitional from true downtown zones. They were common for edges of neighborhoods where different zones met.

MU zones could contain various types of businesses, including commercial, retail and professional, as well as multi-family housing. If granted special exception by the Zoning Hearing Board, public and private schools, hotels, retirement facilities and other entities could be allowed.

"If the committee is in favor, we look at the Comprehensive Plan and amend it, then look at the ordinance itself," Wiser said. "It won't be an overnight process, but at least three or four months."

Several borough and Franklin County boards would look at the planned changes, and the public would be invited to speak at hearings before any rezoning initiatives were adopted.

The committee was open to exploring the matter of rezoning further.